Intel Core i7 980X review

The world's fastest PC processor. Shame about the planet-sized price tag

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Our Verdict

The fastest PC processor we've ever tested. But so expensive, nobody can afford it.

For

  • Epic performance by every metric
  • Money no object, the finest CPU money can buy

Against

  • Money is an object
  • LGA1,366 socket is a dead end

Want the finest CPU money can buy? Look no further than the Intel Core i7 980X. It's the undisputed world heavyweight champ among chips. Just remember you'll need a lot of it. The money, that is.

But what a processor you get in return. The Core I7 980X is, of course, a six-core beast. But this is six-cores Intel style, so that's two threads per core and a dozen of those little green graphs when you fire up task manager. That's unparalleled, er, parallelism in a PC processor.

In that context, even AMD's Phenom II X6 1090T Black Edition looks rather ordinary. It may have six cores. But each is single-threaded only. Moreover, AMD's underlying CPU architecture is pretty ancient while the Intel Core i7 980X is literally the latest thing, right down to is impossibly tiny 32nm underpinnings. What it isn't however, is unique. The recently released Core i7 970 is largely the same six-core, 12-thread processor at a slightly less offensive price point.